If there is one thing I am not a fan of, it is rushing to lose weight or get in shape because of an upcoming special event. My issue with this common and well-intentioned practice is that it does not promote long-term results. You go through all the work and then as soon as the event comes and goes, so does your fitness routine.
This is why your goal should be ongoing. As a runner, I try to register for a 5k every couple of months, and when I want to really challenge myself, I sign up for a 10-miler. Setting these goals is what keeps me on the road year-round.
Goals do not all have to be races or fitness challenges. You can choose from a variety of activities throughout the year, even during the holidays and vacations.
One great place to start is by checking out any local/seasonal events in your area. Races are great because they are open to people in all fitness levels and they provide a relaxed, but energized, environment. Another way to incorporate fitness without exclusively focusing on exercise is to go hiking, canoeing and rock climbing. And if you are going on vacation you may enjoy a walking tour of the city or country you are visiting. Museum tours are a great and educational way to add miles to your time away. A good rule of thumb is to find something you can do outdoors and that usually has some physical fitness benefit.
We all need goals to help us stay on track. While a wedding or class reunion are legitimate ways to get motivated, you need something that will help keep your commitment to health in the forefront.
This year I signed up to run my first half marathon. In spite of it being several months away, I've already started training for it. As I prepare for the big day, I visualize what the experience may be like. I do not have the same pressures of having to fit into a certain size dress. Since my goal has been fitness-driven, my weight is no longer an issue.
Maruchy Lachance is president of Running Ninja!, a lifestyle brand for runners by runners. Running Ninja! offers a wide variety of apparel and gifts for runners to keep you happy and inspired while you're on the run.
Reprinted from DietsinReview